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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

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10,720 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,720
Reviews: 3,492
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 403
Gots: 1,861 | FT: 50
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,720 | Reviews: 3,492 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pdxwhisky
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass - and a wonderful one inch head developed. Perfect inky coloring. Head dissipates into a nice laced skin. Excellent roasted malt nose. Taste starts with a smokey note, growing into a nice roasted malt finish. Mid notes of hops quickly fade, but add excellent balance. Heavily carbonated. Very rich. Alcohol levels very well masked by flavors.

A bit too carbonated, kills the smoothness I desire, but a very, very good RIS.

Photo of turamarth
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Smokestack Goblet.

Appearance: Pitch black body, slight ruby on edges when held to a light. Poured a 1 1/2 finger red-ish brown head that dissipated quickly to leave a film.

Nose: Nice and malty. Hints of chocolates, coffees, leather, some hoppiness. Maybe the faintest hint of raisins or other dark dried berries.

Taste: Lots of chocolate malts. Coffee, some dark berries maybe. Some nice hoppy balance.

Mouth: Pretty smooth. Leaves the mouth pretty dry. but with some thickness.

Drink: Very tasty, and pretty drinkable for having an elevated abv.

Photo of gameface23
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Absolutely nothing wrong with the way this looks in a glass. It has everything you could want in a RIS: pitch black color and a creamy mocha colored head that leaves great lacing.

Smell: Really nice amount of black coffee/espresso and secondary smells of chocolate malt. The one thing that stops this from receiving a 5 for smell is the fact that there is a pretty apparent alcohol smell to it.

Taste: Espresso and hops with a little bit of licorice/anise flavor.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with a nice amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good. Not cloying at all and the finish doesn't overstay its welcome.

Photo of stockingcpl
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This brew pours with a nice creamy dark tan head that leave plentiful lacings. Brew color is a dark brown almost black opaque liquid. Excellent for this style.

Smell: The predominant aroma is a roasted chocolate/coffee malt. Malt presence is impressive and quite in style for this style. Excellent.

Taste: Immediately the roast coffee comes to the front. During systain a hop essence emerges. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: The totality of the taste and palate pleasing character of this selection make this a wonderful choice or experienced drinkers. Novices may find that the palate is a little crouded, however for this style, I find this selection to be very crisp. Great job making this a very tasty brew.

Drinkability: As with most heavy alcohol and malt drinks, this sits a little heavy on the stomache, but alot of this is due to the style character rather than this particular selection. Not bad, but very filling for a novice drinker.


Photo of BigIrishman
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap into pint glass

Appearance: Jet black with caramel colored head, not too much lace.

Smell: Nice, espresso with some chocolate and a bit of a tangy bitterness to it.

Taste: Very similar to the smell, very espressoish with some anise and a bit of caramel in the background.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, what you would expect from an RIS.

Drinkability: Not as high as I would usually rank a RIS, mostly because there was a reasonably noticeable alcohol presence.

Notes: Very enjoyable. but not the most standoutish of RIS's.

Photo of brandoneast
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin enters the snifter surprisingly translucent black and garnet rimmed hues. Frothy crema cap lets rich roasted black malt, baker's cocoa, espresso, some anise or licorice detected. When tasting, chocolate is prominent and the spicy hops fit well with in the beer - distinct enough for balance. A chewy mouthfeel keeps slick and leaves well attuned - a classic Russian Imperial Stout.

Please take my advice on this one - pour this after a full dinner and pair it with an Onyx Reserve Robusto. This full bodied maduro created with Dominican, Nicaraguan blend tobacco and Blackened Connecticut wrapper creates dark aromas and a roasted character that pairs impeccably well with the brew. A puff of the cigar and sip of the slick RIS will make for a memorable evening.

Photo of TehAnkh
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This stuff pours black as night with little to no light shining through. Where it does, you can see this uber dark brown elixer for what it truly is. Gives up about a finger of head that recedes quickly to leave a nice thin layer of light brown froth like one would expect on hot chocolate, but darker. Leaves little lacing, but what's there is appreciated.

S: Coffee, roasted nuts, some caramel, and the overwhelming STINK (I used to be a baker, so I use this term affectionately) of yeasty rising bread. This stuff smells fantastic, it definitely gives the impression of being exactly what stouts are sometimes thought to be, liquid bread. Roasty, toasty, sweet and yeasty are all words that apply here.

T: A bit less hop presence and bitterness than I typically associate with a Russian Imperial Stout, but this lends to the drinkability by a truckload. Coffee, caramel and roasted walnuts are the major flavors I'm getting here. A little bit of a cocoa flavor is detectable, while at the same time that yeastyness seems to carry over in to the taste as well, suggesting a crusty bread-to-be rising in a warm proof box. Fan-freaking-tastic.

M: Somewhat creamy, very very smooth, and a perfectly comfortable level of hoppy bitterness that doesn't hang out on the tongue for too long. Lovely.

D: I could kill a 4 pack of this by myself in a few hours. The 9% is hidden so well you're liable to be dancing on the coffee table with a lampshade on your head at 3 AM before you even realize that you've had enough. So smooth, pretty creamy, and really delicious. But it did leave me wanting... a little.

Photo of Chapter40z
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Extremely dark and completely opaque, A full 2 fingers of dark brown head, retained well and left a solid line of lacing.

S. Yeasty bread smell at first , then graduated to a roasted coffee.

T. Strong roasted notes of coffee and nutty backgrounds. Covers the 9% abv very nicely. A very solid imperial stout.

M. Not overly carbonated, slightly creamy with a full heavy body.

D. Very drinkable almost dangerously so with a 9% abv, I'd likely finish this 4 pack and still be willing to drink another. Great beer would recommend.

Photo of mikereaser
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a complete opaque black with no light penetrating it, it had a little tan foam that quickly disappeared

S - dark roasted coffee and chocolate aromas

T - roasted coffee with sweet malt with a bit of hop bitterness

M/D - nicely carbonated and surprisingly light bodied. Easy drinking brew that I definitely plan on having again. I also mixed it with a Hopslam for a tasty treat.

Photo of ironlung
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into my Maredsous glass...

Pours a thick rich black with a beautiful tan head that rises 2 fingers and sticks around quite awhile. Smell is of bitter hop,deep dark roasted malt and slight booze. Taste is awsome! Has more of a bitter "snap" to it than most other IRS's I've tried. Finishes clean and dry making your mouth ready for the next sip. Let me just say this is hands-down the best IRS based on taste/price/availability that I have come across. $6.99 a four pack of 12oz bottles for an IRS this good is unheard of. Hats-off to North Coast!

Photo of Surefire
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a serious stout, that has a lot going for it. It is NOT a one-dimensional bitter bomb like Guinness. Instead, you get hit with a nice combo of sweet, bitter, and tart.

A: Practically pitch black. This looks like a serious hard core stout.

S: Bitter coffee, caramel, toasty

T: Bitter coffee, chocolate, caramel, slight brown sugar, nutty

M: Big, bold body with balanced but moderate carbination.

D: Drinkable one at a time, or perhaps up to 2. A little too big of a beer to drink a lot at once, and the alchohol content approaches weak wines.

Overall, an outstanding stout that is very nicely balanced and multi-dimensional.

Photo of cpn920
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark mahogany almost black with a big tan head. Fades pretty quickly. Smell burnt chocolate malt with a nice dose of hops. Taste is good with coffee and a bit of hops. Hoppy RIS not my favorite but it seems to work with this one. Mouthfeel is full bodied with medium to light carbonation. Nice cold evening sipper.

Photo of applky
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz stubby bottle

Black and opaque as tar. Very viscous. Sticky dark brown head. Bready, toasted malts dominate the nose and become almost burnt in the mouth. Lots of dried, dark fruit. Terrific mouthfeel -- very rich -- but tough going down (a single 12oz bottle feels like more than enough beer). Definitely an overrated beer, but still a very good one; a great example of an RIS. Not as good as Storm King or Stone IRS, but still very good.

Photo of hreb
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cold 12oz bottle poured into pint glass. Beer pours a dark cola-brown color, agitating just enough to produce a medium-sized brown head with a hint of red.

Aroma is not as strong as it could be: coppery, nutty, with a hint of caramel. The hops are immediately more apparent in the first sip than they are in the nose. The flavor balances out and carries the alcohol well: hazelnut and citrus. The flavors are big but not numerous. It's complex, but not interesting. I have to say this beer is overrated. This beer executes well, but it's not easy to make a highly bitter imperial stout -- it requires a lot of the beer.

Revisting my review from February 3, 2009 (above) four and a half months later: I kept around a bottle from the same batch and let it age in the fridge. This time I'm trying it in a wide-mouth Chimay glass. One thing which is immediately apparent this time is the deep, nutty, coffee aroma. I do find the beer a litlte more enjoyable than I recall, but I still think it's a very good, but not great, beer.

Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very freash case, split umongst a few...
Poured into a "beer clean" 10 oz pils glass. Poured a bit flat then generated a rich, thick, pillow or tan froth, head retention was excellent. The smell of the beer was nothing suprising, the normal smokey, toffee notes of most of this style. Allowed to warm up abit the flavor is "phenominal" and was very enjoyable. Was quite a bit more drinkable than I anticipated, with roasted black malt dominating the pallate, with some caramel/toffe notes swiming around and lingering on my tounge. Mouthfeel was rich & creamy, enticing another drink. Not quite as hoppy as Storm King, but somehow slightly creamier similar to, but not nearly as sweet as a Cream Stout. The alcoholic flavors were not present as in some beers of this magnitude. Honestly, I'm Stouts are not my favorite style as they are not as heavily hopped as I like, but the more of these fantastic examples I try the more I appreciate & enjoy them. A+ for this "Satanic Saint"!

Photo of tittymcj
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split Old Rasputin with William Pang (Queens, NY).

Pours out a very dark black/brown. No light gets through this one at all. Fairly thin tan head, and extremely little lacing.

The smell is, typically, a dark roasted coffee and chocolate one. However, there is a bit of fruit following up, possibly raisin.

The taste is primarily the roasted coffee, with a lot of sweet malt flavor. There is a bit of hoppy bitterness, but nothing to compete with the malts.

The mouthfeel is actually extremely light for this kind of beer. Very heavily carbonated, and this leads it to turn to foam once it hits saliva. A thin coffee-bean aftertaste lingers on the taste buds afterward.

Very drinkable beer because of it's thin body, but not one that I necessarily want to drink more than one of at a time, just because it wasn't that outstanding.

Photo of zerofear13
3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out that dark black like most Russian Imperial stouts. Nice head retention. Great lacing. Smell is a little off-putting. Has that wonderful chocolate, coffee, roasted, smokey malts flavor. But it also had this stale wheat smell that you get from macro lagers. Taste, fortunately, doesn't have any trace of that. Great roasted, smokey flavor. You get the coffee, chocolate sweetness too. I gave it a bit of a lower score on mouthfeel because it is quite dry. Not as creamy as you would think you can do with the possibilities of a stout.

Overall, there are better stouts out there. And I'm sure many of them don't come with the same rarity and price tag. You're better off finding yourself a nice Young's or something of that nature.

Photo of daythree16
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Completely opaque black in color with a one-finger tan/off-white head, that leaves a thin disc of foam in the middle as it fades.

Smell is primarily of cocoa, but there is a definite air of sweet maltiness and some alcohol. Taste is big on the roasted malts with some chocolate in the background and a pretty healthy dose of hoppy bitterness to finish it all off. This is one of the hoppiest stouts I've ever had...and I really like it.

Mouthfeel is not as thick as some stouts but is still substantial. Drinkability is decent. I wouldn't want to drink a lot, but I could definitely have a couple.

Photo of bfields4
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark brown not quite on the motor oil level, but close. A beautiful creamy brown head.

Smells of dark fruits and caramel.

Mouthwatering goodness exhumes from this stout as the malted sweetness hits nice followed by a very nice dark chocolate taste.

There's a reason this beer is a cult classic. An affordable treat that I would never say no to.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this at Isaac Newton's.Poured from a bottle into a PILSNER GLASS ??? At Isaac Newton's in Newtown PA. I was befoudled as you are. Anyway poured coca cola color with nice caramel heading and awesome lacing.A nice smell of coffee and barley up front with a bitter chocolate smell in the end. Taste is much like the nose also very creamy with no bitter aftertaste. A very good stout indeed and highly recommended.

Photo of astrasday
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip. Near black. One finger, khaki head retains well with a nice lacing.

Smell. Dark chocolate, raisins, roasted malts, vanilla, biscuit and hints of alcohol.

Taste. Coffee is the most present on the palate. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, biscuits and hops. There is also some serious booze going on in here, especially when it warms up a bit. Very warming taste. Lovely.

Mouthfeel. Full bodied, creamy, smooth with a nice amount of carbonation to give it a strong backbone.

Drinkability. This is a potent offering that drinks easy but certainly one that I need to pace myself with. I see myself finishing this off after a nice big meal as a desert. Taking my time, savoring the flavors and let the warmth it has to offer wash over me.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


12oz bottle with no date found. poured into tulip.

lacing somewhat sparse this time around.

more notes of fruit in the aroma this time, plus maybe well-aged balsamic vinegar.

on the palate, i get sweeter tones than before, with dried fruit note. perhaps i'm also more used to the bitterness too. can detect phenols this time too.

on the feel, i can detect more complexities than before too, but mouthfeel score is the same.

appearance 4.5 -> 4.0
taste 3.5 -> 4.0

original review feb-3-2008:

dark black, lots of tannish brown head that shrinks very slowly and clings very tightly to the glass, leaving behind plenty of coffee colored, foamy lace.

pungent roasted and burnt malts, ever so slight hint of chocolate and vanilla. alcohol becomes noticeable as it warms up.

quite bitter, almost overpowering the malt and other flavors. indeed, it gives a slight pucker, along with a faint acidity.

slightly syrupy, not too thin. moderate carbonation.

eh... looked better than it ended up being for me. maybe needs some aging?

Photo of Gyle41386
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Delirium Noel snifter.

This one pours pitch black with a thick, rich, chocolately brown head. The blackness provides a great backdrop for the pink elephants on the glass. Magnificent looking beer.

Aroma was very coffee-like. Roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, with hints of caramel and maybe even vanilla.

Taste matches the nose. Delicious. Nice bitter finish.

Feel is excellent. The body is thick yet feels silky smooth, appropriate carbonation, coats the mouth leaving a long-lasting aftertaste.

This one is a slow sipper, but it's still very drinkable considering the 9% ABV. Perhaps even a bit too drinkable.

Photo of davexisxrabid
4.71/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this one on tap at Alex's Bar in Long Beach and damn did I have a great experience!

This thing poured like a monster. The bar tender poured some of the head off but it kept coming up and overflowed. I laughed. Thick brown fluffy head topping a pitch black brew.

Aroma was a roasted malts, unsweetened chocolate, a bit like coffee.

Taste was more of less in line with the aroma. Wonderfully complex flavor of the roasted chocolate malts with a nice bitterness at the end. Couldn't really tell if the bitterness was from the hops or more from the roasted smokey tasting malts. Either way, exceptional.

Thick, full-bodied mouthfeel like a soup. The flavor lingers on your palate for a good while after the taste is gone. Can't really detect the alcohol either.

If it wasn't for the high abv, I would be pounding this day and night. Absolutely amazing stout, perhaps my favorite at this moment.

Photo of mullenite
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a one and a half finger tan head, leaves decent lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell and taste are pretty much identical. Main flavor is dark chocolate with a little bit of a coffee aftertaste. All the bitterness comes from the dark chocolate tastes, the coffee simply accents and enhances it.

Mouthfeel is where this beer shines, heavy body and crisp carbonation makes a nice feeling beer.

Overall a little too easy to drink, the somewhat high ABV is what keeps this from being a 5 because it is really that easy to drink.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,720 ratings.